National Psoriasis Foundation

 

Exercise

Keeping active will make a significant difference in your quality of life with psoriatic arthritis. Movement keeps your joints and tendons looser and more limber. When your muscles are strong, your joints have to do less work to move.

Yoga, swimming, walking and bicycling are just a few examples of activities people with psoriatic arthritis can do. If psoriatic arthritis is keeping you from being more active, you may want to consider working with a physical therapist to create an exercise plan.

Exercising with PsA

The phrase, "no pain, no gain," isn't true. If you are just beginning an exercise routine, start small, said Christa Causey, exercise physiologist. When you've been inactive, your muscles have to work harder to do the same amount of activity as an active person. This can result in sore muscles and joint pain. If you have a hard time cooling down after exercise or your joints feel worse the next day, it's time to ease up.

Causey recommends starting to walk in just 10-minute increments, building up to a half-hour of walking through the course of the day. From there, build up to an hour of walking a day. You don't have to do it all at once; breaking up your workout throughout the day can prevent injury and make starting a new habit more manageable.

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Working with a PT

Working with a physical therapist can help to maximize the function of your arthritic joints and overall conditioning. A physical therapist can do a full evaluation and determine what may be causing the pain that prevents you from moving more, said Marvin Smith, a physical therapist at the Oregon Health & Science University rehabilitation clinic. If you have tight or weak muscles, exercise will increase stress on the joint. If the joint is stiff, the muscles have to work harder to move it, which cases more stress. This can affect your balance, too.

Your PT will create a plan involving home exercises in addition to the therapy you do at your appointments. Usually, you will have stretching and strengthening exercises, but your PT might also give you strategies to help you relax, which can reduce stress and pain, as well, Smith said.

Learn more about how a PT can help your psoriatic arthritis symptoms »

Additional reading

National Psoriasis Foundation Our Mission: To drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected.